DUNEDIN, Fla. — Ever since Aaron Altherr succumbed to wrist surgery at the beginning of the month, the Phillies have poked around other team's outfielders, exploring possible trades, waiver claims or signings.
They found a match Monday when they signed Will Venable to a minor-league deal. Venable, 33, could be the team's starting right fielder when the season begins in a week.
He is expected to report to camp on Tuesday.
Manager Pete Mackanin said Venable is not guaranteed a job, but it is unlikely he would have signed without a strong chance in his favor. Cody Asche will start the season on the disabled list with a rib cage injury, and Mackanin said two roster spots will come from a group of four players: Venable, Cedric Hunter, David Lough and Emmanuel Burriss.
The Cleveland Indians on Sunday released Venable, a veteran outfielder. He is a logical fit with the Phillies. Venable is athletic, versatile and provides experience. The Phillies could pair him in one corner spot with Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel.
"We're going to get a look at him," Mackanin said of Venable. "He's got a pretty decent track record in the big leagues."
Venable, a Princeton graduate, was a late addition to Indians camp when Cleveland needed outfield reinforcements. But, once the Indians told Venable he would not make their team, he asked for his release from a minor-league contract. His deal with the Indians called for a $1.5 million base salary had he made the team.
His addition, at least, could allow the Phillies to limit Goeddel's exposure. Venable, a lefthanded hitter, could earn starts against some righthanded pitchers. He owns a career .745 OPS against righthanders, and 71 of his 81 career homers have been hit against righties.
Goeddel, 23, is a righthanded batter. He has never played above double A. This spring, he has a .650 OPS in 60 plate appearances.
Venable split time with San Diego and Texas last season. His best production came in 2013, when he blasted 22 homers with a .796 OPS. Injuries have plagued Venable's career, and he could benefit from a part-time role at this stage in his career.